Archetypes Sculpture Exhibition: Summer 2018

Coming to Cambridge in July 2018, the ‘Archetypes’ is a public sculpture exhibition commissioned by Jubilee Centre that invites visitors into a multi-faceted conversation between history, faith, art and technology.

The Archetypes Under Construction: Five sculptures for five ‘universal themes’

As a unique mission initiative, the ‘Archetypes’ exhibition will create a rich opportunity for people to reflect on the conversation between faith and culture, and to consider the deep spiritual truths of the gospel.  Up to a million people are expected to see the sculptures, which will be situated close to the iconic King’s College Chapel.

To stay up to date with events for the exhibition (including the unveiling on the 23rd July), please visit the dedicated Archetypes website.

The project has five main aims:

  • Education: to explore the Reformation and its influence on British culture and society from an original perspective
  • Witness: to affirm the positive contribution that Christians can make to society, by commissioning aesthetic and meaningful works of public art
  • Evangelism: to create a fruitful space for people to consider some of the themes of the Bible which speak into the big ideas that shape our culture
  • Renewal: to enrich personal faith by casting new light on some of the profound spiritual truths revealed in the gospel
  • Collaboration: to create an opportunity for people across different churches and Christian organisations in Cambridge to share their faith together

The artist, Liviu Mocan, stands under the completed sculpture The Ladder of the World

Background:

This exhibition was originally conceived for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.  The well-known Romanian sculptor Liviu Mocan was interested in the five ‘solas’ which summed up the theology of the movement, and wanted to create sculptures which would capture something of the spiritual energy of the Reformers.[1] That idea has since become the ‘Archetypes’ exhibition and explores five great themes found in almost every culture and society: revelation, sacrifice, belief, transcendence and destiny. Liviu Mocan has used 21st century technology to make the sculptures, while drawing on the ideas of the 16th century Reformation. His interpretation draws too on his deep personal faith, which grew and was refined under the communist regime in Romania.

The five sculptures are:

  • The Anchor Cast up to Heaven (Belief)

  • The Trumpet in the Universe (Destiny)

  • The Ladder of the World (Transcendence)

  • The Lamb of God (Sacrifice)

  • The Book that Reads You (Revelation)

Great St Mary’s Church (Credit: Jean-Christophe Benoist, CC BY 3.0)

Location:

The University church of Great St Mary’s in Cambridge invited Jubilee Centre to bring the exhibition to its churchyard on King’s Parade in the heart of the city.  Cambridge was the cradle of the English Reformation, and Great St Mary’s had a pivotal role in the early days of the movement. The city is now home to one of the world’s foremost universities, and a global centre for learning, discovery and innovation.

The Story So Far:

Jubilee Centre director Jonathan Tame used to work in Romania, where he became friends with Liviu Mocan. They collaborated in 2008-09 to create and install the monumental ‘Invitation/Decalogue’ exhibition in Geneva, for the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth, and both of them believe in the power of public art to bring a gospel influence to a neighbourhood or city.

In Autumn 2016, the Jubilee Centre agreed to commission a new set of sculptures for a public exhibition. The location at Great St Mary’s Church was quickly secured, and fundraising began; the artist only asked for the direct costs of creating the sculptures to be covered, as he offered his own time pro bono.

Poster for the Exhibition

After forming a team, Liviu Mocan started working with a digital architect on the designs; the creative process uses 3D printing, laser and water cutting and specialist welding processes to create the sculptures out of brass in Cluj, Romania.  They range from 1.3m to 5.4m in height, with the smallest weighing 200kg and the largest over 1 tonne.  As at 30th April, four of the sculptures are complete, the fifth is being created and the steel support base for mounting them all on is being designed and tested.

The Archetypes exhibition will be previewed for two weeks in the central square of Cluj, Romania before being shipped to Cambridge, where an unveiling is due to take place on Monday 23rd July (tbc). Simple explanatory plaques will be positioned next to each sculpture, a flyer will be printed and made available next to the exhibition, and three large display boards inside the church will show how they were made, tell the story behind the exhibition, and invite the public to interact with the Archetypes and the artist’s interpretation of them.

A training session will be held for volunteer guides from a number of Cambridge churches to help people discover the message of the sculptures.  A dedicated website is also being built at www.archetypes-sculpture.org to enable people to explore the Archetypes exhibition and the ideas that inspired it.   Interactive questions will be prepared for school groups visiting in the autumn term.  A series of events to help people engage with the message of the sculptures is also being planned, particularly during the Cambridge University Festival of Ideas in October.

By January 2019, we are looking to secure a second venue for the exhibition in the city or elsewhere in Cambridgeshire, so that many more people can benefit from visiting this exhibition and interacting with its themes and message.

Visitors at Mocan’s installation ‘Invitation/Decalogue’ in Geneva (2009), commissioned as part of the city’s celebrations for Calvin’s 500th anniversary.

Will you support the exhibition?

Jubilee Centre has stepped out in faith by inviting Liviu Mocan to create the Archetypes for Cambridge. If you believe that public Christian art can have a powerful witness and impact, then we invite you to join us in commissioning the exhibition by donating towards this unique project.

To acknowledge the partnership between the donors and the artist, we are inviting each contributor to the unveiling event in July where we’d like to give you an exhibition catalogue signed by Liviu. Depending on how much you can donate, you may receive an invitation to a special drinks reception with the artist, or receive a unique gift made by him. For more information, and how to make a donation, please visit the Contributors’ page on the Reformation2017 website.

 

[1] The connection between the Archetypes and each sola are as follows: Revelation: sola scriptura (by scripture alone); Belief: sola fide (by faith alone); Sacrifice: sola gratia (by grace alone); Transcendence: solus Christus (through Christ alone) and Destiny: soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone)